Infographic: Infidelity by the Numbers

What percentage of men and women cheat? And why do they do it?

Given all the coverage we’ve given to Tiger Woods, it makes sense to take a step back and look at the broader trend of infidelity. And this infographic digs up all the relevant dirt. Obviously, cheating is pretty common: 20% of men, and 10% of women admit to an extramarital affair. And the reasons for cheating are about what common wisdom predicts: A plurality–40%–of women who cheat want more emotional attention. About 40% of men who cheat are looking for more sexual variety.

infidelity infographic

But let’s bring it back to Tiger!

You’ll notice that about 21%
of men making less than $35,000 cheat, while 32% of men who make over
$300,000 do. In other words, a roughly tenfold increase in income
correlates with being 50% more likely to cheat on your wife. (An
evolutionary biologist would tell you that men with less money don’t
cheat as much, because they have less options in finding mates.)

Given
that Tiger Woods makes, oh, about 350 times your average bank exec, does that imply that his odds of cheating were approximately 99.99999%?

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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